Gary Bankhead

Amateur underwater archaeologist, small finds researcher and illustrator.
Gary Bankhead Gary is an amateur underwater archaeologist, small finds researcher and illustrator. He is married to his wife Angela and together they share a family home in Pity Me, County Durham. Gary has been a sub-aqua diver for over 25 years and is a qualified BSAC Dive Leader having dived extensively around UK inshore waters and the Egyptian Red Sea, he is also a qualified level 3 water rescue technician. Gary is also an accomplished public speaker, having given over 150 talks, papers and lectures. Gary's other interests include long distance walking, mountain climbing (in 2007, he successfully summitted Cerro Aconcagua (6,960m), in Argentina), running (completing over 20 full and half marathons), snow boarding, snorkelling and spending time with his four children and six grand children. In 2004, he helped establish the Fire and Ice Expeditions team which has gone on to raise over £100,000 for local charities.

As a Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Archaeology, Durham University, Gary's current role is to coordinate the wider research of the Durham River Wear Assemblage. As well as his own ongoing small finds research, he continues to work with Durham University students undertaking a MA in Conservation of Archaeological and Museum Objects course to analyse and research artefacts (see: student case studies), along with specialists with traditional archaeological skills from finds drawing to comparative analysis and developing typologies.

Gary is also an external specialist for MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) having recently undertaken research on two significant assemblages of sixteenth/seventeenth century lead cloth seals found during MOLA excavations at the Crossrail project (Liverpool Street) and at Tanner Street, Bermondsley.

Curriculum Vitae

  • Contact Details:
    Gary Bankhead, Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Archaeology, Durham University, South Rd., Durham, DH1 3LE. Phone: 07962 142299, e-mail:

  • Educational History:
    Master of Philosophy (MPhil) — University of Durham (2013-2016) 'A cultural, scientific and technical study of the Durham lead cloth seal assemblage'
    Certificate of Education (2009-2011), New College, Durham
    Chartered Management Institute (CMI) Level 5 Executive Diploma in Management (2005-2006), Teesside University
    National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) (2003)
    Higher National Certificate (HNC) Sports Science (Distinction) (2001), New College Durham

  • Organizations:
    FireFit Steering Group (The Steering Group on Health, Fitness and Wellbeing in the UK Fire and Rescue Service (Committee member) 2003 - 2016
    Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland (Committee member) 2013 - present
    Durham University Archaeological Society (Committee member) 2011 - present

  • TV Appearances:
    The Great British Story - From the Dales to the Sea, BBC One - June 2012
    Britain's Secret Treasures, ITV - July 2012
    Britain's Greatest Cathedrals, Channel 5 - April 2018
    River Hunters, Ep.2. Warwick - War of the Roses, History UK Channel, March 2019
    River Hunters, Ep.3. Newark - English Civil War, History UK Channel, April 2019
    River Hunters, Ep.4. Vikings - River Trent, History UK Channel, April 2019
    River Hunters, Ep.6. Barnard Castle - River Tees, Histroy UK Channel, April 2019
    River Hunters, Ep.7. Durham - Henry VIII, History UK Channel, April 2019

  • Selected Articles in Refereed Journals or Conference Proceedings:
    Bankhead, G. 2015, 'A cultural, scientific and technical study of the Durham lead cloth seal assemblage' Unpublished thesis. University of Durham
    Bankhead, G. 2015, 'The Tanner Street, Bermondsey, lead cloth seal assemblage - an overview', unpubl, rep.for MOLA.
    Bankhead, G. 2016, 'The Broadgate lead cloth seals (Crossrail - Liverpool Street Excavation) - Evidence of the Finishing and Sealing of Textiles in Sixteenth Century Broadgate', unpubl, rep.for MOLA.
    Bankhead, G. 2018, Appendix - Cloth Analysis. In P. Maunder and J. Evans Tiverton Cloth: The Story of the Town's Woollen Trade 1475 - 1815. Short Run Press Ltd. Exeter. 413.
    Bankhead, G. & Pearce, J. in prep. 'The Tanner Street, Bermondsey Lead Cloth Seal Assemblage - An Overview'. Post-Medieval Archaeology.
    Bankhead, G. 2018, 'Artefact research report: a late-medieval pectoral cross recovered from the River Wear near Elvet Bridge, County Durham', in D. Mason (ed.). Durham Archaeological Journal 21. Transactions of the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland. Alphagraphics UK.

  • Books:
    Bankhead, G. in prep, 'Textile Manufacture, Taxation and Trade in Late- and Post-Medieval Durham', The Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland Research Report

  • Papers:
    June 2019: Kings College, The Strand, London 'Hoarding and deposition in Europe from later prehistory to the medieval period - finds in context' The Roman Finds Group, Later Prehistoric Finds Group and Finds Research Group in collaboration with King's College London and Instrumentum International Meetings: 'Deliberate disposition or accidental loss? - A new understanding and interpretation of an urban past'

    April 2018: Durham University 'Archaeology and the small finds of North-East England' a Finds Research Group, AASDN and Department of Archaeology, Durham University joint conference: 'Elvet Bridge, Durham: investigating a multi-period underwater archaeological site'

    October 2017: Museum of Archaeology Durham University (part of the Dig Deeper talks): 'Investigating the small finds from Durham's River Wear - a scientific approach'

    July 2016: Ashmolean Museum (Part of Festival or Archaeology Week): 'The Durham River Wear Assemblage'

    November 2014: Museum of London 'Discovery is just the beginning...' The Nautical Archaeological Society and Thames Discovery Programme Annual Conference: 'The Place of Bishops and Saints: pilgrimage, power and trade in medieval Durham'

    June 2014: Museum of Archaeology, Durham University Diving into Durham Study Day (part of Universities Week): 'Reading Objects: Case studies from the River Wear Assemblage'

    October 2013: British Museum 'The Forgotten Past: post-medieval small finds and their contributions to our understanding the past.' A Portable Antiquities Scheme and Finds Research Group Conference: 'The Durham Cloth Seal Assemblage: New revelations on the importance of merchants, trade and social hierarchy in the North-East of England'

    March 2011: Durham County Hall Durham County Archaeology Day: 'Some Medieval Finds from the River Wear, Durham'

  • Prizes/Awards: 2012: Joint winner of the Finds Research Group's Geoff Egan prize for finds research: 'Artefact Report: a late-fourteenth century pectoral cross/pilgrim souvenir'.